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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that India should become an international diamond trading hub in addition to its present status as cutting and polishing hub.Addressing the audience at a charity dinner at the International Diamond Conference in Mumbai through video conferencing, Modi said India has made rapid strides since the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India was set up 50 years back


He said, "India is now the world's largest manufacturer of cut and polished diamonds, and gems and jewellery sector is one of the leading sectors in India in terms of value of exports as well as employment generation."Modi said India has emerged as the leader in diamond manufacturing and export in the last four decades and exports of gems and jewellery from India account for 15 per cent of India's total merchandise exports


"This is one of India's success stories. From just 28 million dollars in 1966-67, exports reached one billion dollars in 1982-83 and two billion dollars in 1987-88. It crossed 10 billion dollars in 2003-04, 20 billion dollars in 2007-08 and is now nearly 40 billion dollar


Modi said Indian importers had to go abroad to view and purchase rough diamonds till recently, which reduced the efficiency of the supply chain




The Prime Minister said amendments have been made to the laws to enable rough diamonds to enter and exit, duty free for the purpose of viewing, and the Special Notified Zone at the Bharat Diamond Bourse, which became operational in November, 2015, has already shown good results


Modi said only 80 to 90 big merchants used to get access to global rough diamonds by travelling to Belgium, Africa and Israel, and now about 3,000 small and medium merchants have this privilege through the new Special Notified Zone


"Many of the most reputed international names in the diamond industry have conducted over 244 days of viewings. My intention is to make India, which is already the cutting and polishing hub, into an international diamond trading hub," he said


"Our goal is to transform India in one generation. Since taking office, this government has placed emphasis on many transformative initiatives. 'Make in India' is one of them. Our aim is to make India a preferred destination for manufacturing," Modi added


He said the gems and jewellery sector had accounted for 475 billion dollars of exports despite India having little diamond or gold production




Referring to Skill India initiative of the government, Modi said it aims to ensure that new entrants to the work force have the necessary skills to contribute to the economy of the 21st century


"The gems and jewellery sector employs 4.6 million people. Out of this, one million people are in the diamond industry alone. Thus, the gems and jewellery sector is a prime example of the potential of 'Make In India' and 'Skill India'," he said


Referring to the presence of ministers from several African countries, Modi said India would support them in developing their gems and jewellery sector


Modi said India's future is much bigger than cutting and polishing alone and there is a lot of unexplored potential


He suggested documenting the legacy of India, which is of relevance to the jems and jewellery trade, and using it for designs


He said diamonds are being used in spectacles, watches and pens. "Can't our jewellers, with their skills, strengths and heritage, create and change global tastes and fashions?


The Prime Minister said that India has acquired a global brand for high skills and excellence in software but is yet to do that in jewellery


Modi said: "The Council should consider taking a census of the lowest-paid and least prosperous persons in your industry. Can the industry ensure that every one of them is enrolled in the government's low cost social security schemes?


Noting that India will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its Independence in 2022, Modi asked the gems and jewellery industry to set goals for itself


He said the government can consider changes in regulations based on specific and practical suggestions.


Source:India Today

The government is expected to soon announce relaxations in the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in certain sectors, including single brand retail. 


The further liberalisation in the FDI policy is aimed at providing better business environment by removing impediments, an official said. 


The easing of the policy will be on the lines of the announcements made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget for 2017-18. 


The government last year relaxed FDI norms in over a dozen sectors, including defence, civil aviation, construction and development, private security agencies, real estate and news broadcasting. 


Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal recently stated that the government will consider the demands made by foreign retailers for allowing non-food items such as homecare products under the policy. 


The government is also considering a proposal to increase FDI limit in print media to 49 per cent from 26 per cent. 


Besides, a proposal to allow 100 per cent FDI through the automatic route in single brand retail is also under consideration with a view to attracting more global players in the sector. 


Foreign investments are considered crucial for India, which needs around $1 trillion to overhaul its infrastructure such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth. 


Foreign investments will help improve the country's balance of payments situation and strengthen the value of the rupee against global currencies, especially the US dollar. 


FDI inflows into India firmed up by 22 per cent to $35.85 billion during April-December 2016. 


Source: The Economic Times


President Pranab Mukherjee today said Indian economy was projected to grow by more than 7.5 percent in the current financial year.


The President noted that for 50 years before independence, the economic growth rate of India was 0 to 1 percent.


In the 1950s, the growth rate rose to 1-2 percent, while in the sixties 3-4 percent and in the 90s, with economic reforms it increased by 6 to 7 percent, Mukherjee said, while delivering the sixth K S Rajamony Memorial Lecture here.


Speaking on the topic of India@70, he said in 15 years, Indian economy grew more than 7 percent, making us the fastest growing large economy of the world.


"And as per the indication of the third part of the current year, it is sure to grow more than 7 and a half percent," he added.


Mukherjee said such a performance could be achieved only because of the hardwork of farmers and workers


Source:Money Control News

India is outpacing China in export growth of locally made retail and lifestyle products, according to Damco, the world’s seventhlargest freight forwarder. 


An analysis of sourcing data by the transport and logistics arm of Danish shipping conglomerate AP Moller-Maersk Group shows that amid tepid global economic conditions, Indian exports of these products grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% between 2013 and 2016, while China registered only 5%, though it had a much bigger base. 


“Contrary to the bleakness of global trade, the future looks promising for India,” Damco chief executive officer Klaus Rud Sejling said in an interview with ET. “The country is clearly well-poised to shape global trade, as global retailers are constantly looking for suppliers that are nimble enough to be able to adjust with troughs and peaks in the demand cycle, not only from an output point of view, but also when it comes to developing entirely new products and customising existing lines.” 


Sejling, who took over as global CEO of Damco in October 2016, was in India for a global leadership meet, the first under his leadership held outside Copenhagen, Denmark. 


Global trade is battling on many fronts. Lukewarm demand has pushed container lines like South Korea’s Hanjin to bankruptcy and forced others in the industry to consolidate in order to stay afloat. Apprehensions of a protectionist approach to global trade under Donald Trump’s regime has added to the uncertainty. 


“Year 2017 will see some organic growth, but maybe only around 2-3%,” Sejling said 


According to Damco’s data for India, exports of bedding and bath products, home decor products and textiles were the key drivers, accounting for 53% of the country’s total retail and lifestyle exports volumes. 


Vishal Sharma, Damco’s CEO for India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, said: “In the past 24-36 months, we have seen a structural interest in global companies to move sourcing to India as manufacturing in China is becoming expensive. Also, as a way of having contingency and balancing supply chains, they are zeroing in on India.” Sharma was present during the interview which was held last week. 


“India-based manufacturers are benefiting significantly from access to quality raw materials that are competitively priced. Their improving agility combined with the efforts of the government is making India an increasingly attractive destination for global brands,” Sharma said. 


Source:The Economic Times


Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is attending the Nepal Investment Summit 2017 at Kathmandu, has stated that New Delhi is Kathmandu?s largest partner in trade and investment with more than two-third of the country?s trade being with India, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total FDI in Nepal.


?Nepal is well poised to attract further FDI from India by creation of a conducive legal and regulatory framework,? said Jaitley while addressing the Nepal Investment Summit.


While sharing his views on India?s experience in reforming its economy and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Jaitley said that India and Nepal have wide ranging engagement in trade and investment.


He further said that New Delhi and Kathmandu share deep-rooted historical, cultural and religious ties, which have enabled extensive cooperation in trade and economic fields between the two countries.


?The two countries have open border, grant national treatment to each other?s citizens and millions of Nepali citizens live and work in India. Nepal has several important sectors such as hydropower, transmission lines, road and rail networks, health, education, tourism, irrigation etc in which it can attract Indian investments. India is ready to invest in the projects of Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track road, second international airport at Nijgadh, Koshi High Dam etc,? Jaitley said.


Jaitley, who is presently on a two-day visit to Nepal, held meetings with President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ?Prachanda?.


He also met Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi.


In order to address the issue of high trade deficit, Jaitley suggested that Nepal may expand its export basket by attracting more Indian investments in export-oriented industries.


Further, the early completion of power projects like Upper Karnali and Arun-III, Nepal would be able to export electricity to India.


He urged that the issues of forest land and land acquisition, which have delayed projects, should be resolved at the earliest.


The Nepali leaders thanked Jaitley for India?s development assistance and highly appreciated the country?s assistance for post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal.


Deputy Prime Minister Mahara in particular thanked the Government of India for facilitating export of nearly 380 MW of electricity throughout this winter which has enabled several regions of Nepal become free of load-shedding.


The two countries now have transmission lines for trade of nearly 500 MW of electricity, which would increase to over 750 MW by mid-2017.


The Finance Minister?s visit highlights the importance India attaches to its relations with Nepal.


Source:DNA News